Sometimes, making a shiva call 
or after a funeral, you have seen them, 
an elderly couple mourning 
their oldest or perhaps middle child 
(not speaking the kind of death), glancing 
with a pin-pricked quizzical surprise 
at the odd thing the other wears 
on blouse or lapel (you can tell 
how much effort it’s taken them 
to put on clothes today, their hearts 
being undressed, as they sit 
uniformed on chairs)—that little extra 
piece of clothing, the thin black ribbon 
of customary bombazine, the tatter 
neatly cut, not torn, their badge 
of ruin flashing as if it were 
the only stitch they wore.